The Mercer Island Islanders defense displayed its dominance against the Issaquah Eagles football team in a nonleague matchup between two Eastside squads.
With 6:03 left in regulation and the Islanders leading the Eagles 7-0, Mercer Island linebacker Will Mulflur sacked Issaquah quarterback Trevor Morine on a fourth down with 15 yards to go, giving possession of the ball back to the Islanders deep in Eagles territory. Mercer Island running back Jack Clayville scored on a 4-yard touchdown run with 5:21 left in the game, extending the Islanders’ lead to 13-0. Clayville also scored on a 5-yard touchdown run with 3:18 left in the first quarter, giving the Islanders an early 7-0 advantage. Neither team scored in the final five minutes of play as the Islanders held on for a 13-0 win against the Eagles on Sept. 7 at Gary Moore Stadium in Issaquah.
Mulflur was ecstatic following the victory on the road against Issaquah.
“A shutout doesn’t happen very often. It was really fun to be a part of it. We put a lot of emphasis on third and fourth down. We had a play drawn up for one of their formations and they happened to run it on fourth and 15 in their own red-zone. It was a huge play and that pretty much ended the game,” Mulflur said of his sack with 6:03 left. “The whole team played great. It was a great team win.”
Mercer Island’s defense came up with clutch plays throughout the duration of the game. With 7:39 left in the second quarter, the Eagles had possession of the ball at their own 39-yard line. The Eagles marched 51 yards in 11 plays and faced a fourth down with one yard to go with 54 seconds left in the first half. After calling a timeout, Issaquah quarterback Trevor Morine was thrown for a 1-yard loss on a quarterback draw, preventing the Eagles from keeping their drive alive. With 6:27 left in the third quarter and the Eagles driving again, Mercer Island forced an Issaquah ball carrier to fumble the ball as he ran toward the end zone. The ball traveled out of bounds as Mercer Island regained possession due to the touchback. With three minutes left in the third quarter, Mercer Island defensive back Cole Miller picked off a Morine pass down the left sideline.
The dominating defensive showing in all facets didn’t escape Clayville following the triumph.
“I believe we have the best defense in KingCo (division). We play hard, we play physical and we play as a team. I think we can shut down anybody,” Clayville said.
Issaquah head coach Buddy Bland remained upbeat following the setback against Mercer Island.
“This is one game. We are not going to panic after one game. Our defense did an outstanding job tonight. We gambled and they made a big play (fourth down attempt with 6:03 left in regulation) and then they went in to score (Clayville’s second touchdown run). It is a tough one but it’s nonleague so we’re going to learn from this and keep moving forward,” Bland explained.
Mercer Island (2-0) will host the Newport Knights in a nonleague contest at 7 p.m. on Sept. 14 at Mercer Island High School.
“It feels great to be coming home to the fans. We had a great turnout tonight. We are excited to get home and play another 4A team,” Mulflur said.